Emeritus Fellow – John Unsworth

Dr. John B. Unsworth has been awarded the status of Emeritus Fellow in Division VI. This 2021 appointment reflects his standing as a scientist and substantial service to Division VI and to the Union.

Since 1994 he was an active member of the former IUPAC Commission on Agrochemicals and the Environment, now the Advisory Committee on Crop Protection Chemistry, serving as Chair of this committee from 2010 to 2019. He has served as a Titular member of Division VI and has led or been part of the task group for seventeen IUPAC Projects.

Through his work in IUPAC, Dr. Unsworth has made significant contributions in his efforts around increasing the transparent and global availability of information on the chemistry of agrochemicals for use in science-based risk assessments. Most impactful have been his projects around pesticide ecological risk assessment in scientifically emerging regions.

The goal of the workshops was to develop an integrated framework and guidance document for the application of ecological risk assessment (ERA) methodologies that can be applied to the pesticide regulatory process. He led task group members in developing training materials and organized workshops in China, Colombia, Chile, and Kenya for regulators and scientists interested in the topic of pesticide ecological risk assessment.

Speakers at the “Fate of Pesticides in Latin America” Symposium (Dr. John B. Unsworth shown on far left). Photo from: Purchase, Diane, Obare, Sherine, Unsworth, John and Garelick, Hemda. “Chemistry and the Environment” Chemistry International, vol. 40, no. 2, 2018, pp. 46-51. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2018-0230


Workshop participants at Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi 25-26 February 2016. Photo from: Unsworth, John B. and Lalah, Joseph O. “Ecological Risk Assessment Workshop” Chemistry International, vol. 38, no. 5, 2016, pp. 32-32. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2016-0523


Participants at the ERA Workshop, 9-10 May 2015, Santiago, Chile. Photo from: Unsworth, J.B. and Gras, N.. “Ecological Risk Assessment” Chemistry International, vol. 38, no. 2, 2016, pp. 29-29. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2016-0225

Professionally, Dr. Unsworth has worked in the agrochemical industry in the areas of analytical chemistry, environmental fate, herbicide research, fungicide research and biotechnology for more than 50 years. His analytical chemistry experience has covered analysis of formulations, including storage stability, crop residue analysis at the ppb level and soil/water analysis at the sub-ppb level. Environmental fate studies built on this experience and involved determining the fate of agrochemicals in soil, water, and air. As most of the studies were for regulatory purposes this also gave him contact with regulatory officials and an insight into the environmental issues which concern governments.

The research areas were centered on the discovery of new herbicides and fungicides and involved leading multidisciplinary teams of chemists, biochemists, biologists, fungi and weed specialists etc. This experience gave him a better understanding of the basic research needed to find new solutions to control weeds and fungi, as well as the techniques which are advancing rapidly in this area, this included collaborative projects with Universities in the UK, France, and Russia. This also brought him into contact with issues involving biotechnology in the development of genetically modified organisms, specifically herbicide resistant crops.


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